A Photographers Perfect Day

When it comes to telling your story through photography it really doesn’t matter whether you are an amateur, professional, or somewhere in between.  Sure, more expensive gear can yield better results, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to create art with more affordable equipment.  That is why using the right tips and tricks while maintaining a knowledge of the practice will help you capture more engaging shots.

Let’s begin with some of the of the more basic tips that even the more seasoned vets could refresh themselves on.  For starters, always remember the rule of thirds.  A good rule of thumb is to line up the center of a subject’s face or their eyes around the top third dividing line.  Another good tip is to keep in mind is the golden ratio as it can really help create a visual pathway for the eye and frame your shot.  Creating eye movement is also very important to an engaging photo.  Try to find the focal point of the image and see where your eye naturally moves from there.  Another good pointer is to not look at the LCD screen.  Look through the viewfinder and really try to engage with what you are shooting.  Following these easy rules will make you a better photographer and your photos more captivating.

Moving on to some more intermediate tips, one should learn to work with their camera’s histogram.  The histogram is extremely helpful when it comes to exposing shots properly.  Speaking of exposure, the weather/ shooting conditions are a huge indicator of how you should be shooting.  Think about the lighting and where it is coming from.  Most photographers would agree that the most balanced light comes from overcast skies which create a well balanced and soft lighting.  This is good for shooting faces for example.  One should also be aware of their depth of field while shooting.  A small aperture retains more focus depth while a wide aperture makes a subject pop.  Consider using wide for things like product photography and portraits and narrow for landscape photography.  Using a narrow aperture will increase the depth of field and allow more to be in focus at once.

Some other useful tips include bringing along some gaffers tape and even a friend to help you get your shots in focus or to engage the subject.  The tape helps in a variety of ways from marking shooting spots to subject location and I have personally found that having someone else there to talk with the subject while they get their portrait taken has significantly made for better shots.  Let your friend discuss something that will enact a mood in the subject so that you can focus on getting the shot.

By the way, where is your photo going?  The medium in which you display your photo is also an important aspect to keep in mind because something printed on a canvas can end up looking different than on glossy paper or being shared through Instagram.  Peter Lik, who sold the most expensive photo of all time ($6 million), uses FujiFlex silver-halide paper, which boosts the light sensitivity and creates a sort of glow.  This is good for highlighting vibrant colors but might not necessarily work if you are shooting a completely different style.  For this reason it is usually good to spend some time thinking about how you want to display your photo for whoever you may be delivering it too.  Details like this affect aspect ratio, contrast, framing, and more.

Lastly, be open to learning.  You always have more to learn whether you are already an expert or just starting out.  There are countless different styles, preferences, and techniques from millions of photographers each unique in their own way.  Practice taking photos as often as you can and remember that what you make is your voice.  All in all, following these tips, will help you take more engaging photos and help craft you into a stronger photographer.

By: Bryan Rothman

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